Domestic Violence

There was a time when nobody spoke about domestic violence and it was believed that it only happened among certain classes of people. Thankfully attitudes change and we now hear more about the problem of domestic violence and it is widely recognised that it happens at all levels of society. While domestic violence is not restricted to male violence against women that is by far the greater part of the problem. Irrespective of who is the violent partner, there is incontrovertible evidence as to the deleterious effects on children.

Domestic violence does not just refer to physical abuse, nowadays it covers a whole range of behaviours including mental and emotional as well as physical abuse. Violence in the home is not restricted to two people and can refer to elder abuse or to child and sibling abuse. While society is now more willing to recognise that domestic violence is not restricted to certain levels of society, it is still chronically under reported and some research suggests that as many as forty percent of women suffer domestic abuse at some time in their lives.

Some research, while admitting that domestic violence is under reported puts the figures much lower and report that domestic abuse accounts for 10percent of all violent crime – however, the vast majority of domestic assaults never come to the notice of the police. Researchers estimate that one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.

Domestic violence has more repeat victims than any other crime and results in far fewer prosecutions and victims may have been subjected to 35 or more incidents before they call in the police. Every week in the UK two women are killed by either their current abusive partner or an abusive partner that they have left – it is not often that these men are charged with murder. It is estimated that police receive a report of domestic abuse and disturbance once a minute.

If you have been subjected to domestic violence and you want to end the relationship then you should see a solicitor as they can help you in a number of ways:

  • They can help you find a refuge if your abusive partner won’t leave you alone
  • They can help with an injunction to keep your partner away
  • They can help with legal separation, divorce and child custody issues

Nowadays the police are more helpful to people who are suffering domestic violence although UK law has yet to keep up with the law in Canada where abusers get an automatic prison sentence, irrespective of whether the victim presses charges. If you are suffering domestic violence or trying to leave an abusive partner Women’s Aid can give you help and advice and find a safe place for you and your children to stay. The number of campaigns against domestic violence has grown considerably in recent years and there is a lot more information available than ever before.